God Sees

An Egyptian slave girl uttered those words and they live on for eternity (Gen.16:13-14).

"The God who sees" is a lasting testimony, a word of hope, and the anchor for our lives in a broken world. Are you living in truth before God yet others still spread lies? God sees. Have you kept your mouth shut when you could have blown someones cover, knowing silence was the righteous thing? God sees. Do you hold pain of injustice and wonder when truth will prevail? God sees.

The eyes of God are keen. He notices everything. The stinging of slander, the shading of truth, and the subtle accusation of innuendo will not escape the gaze of God. God sees.

Our response is the only thing that matters. Let the love of God embrace you and allow the eyes of God to examine you. And as the searching of God reveals things that must change...agree, and say to the God who sees...let it be. God sees.

Materialism: Big problem, one answer

Contentment is a state of being that transcends our strata in life. Contentment is the purest evidence of God at work, deep in a soul. There are several thieves of contentment, but one of the largest is materialism. It is contentment that eludes the rich and poor alike, until God can touch our craving for material things. Materialism is the sickness of scrambling to fill our "God shaped void" with something material that can somehow satisfy that craving. But it will never prove successful over the long haul. The only work that truly works, is the work of God.

Materialism is an equal opportunity master. It will suck people in from every walk of life. We can be a rich materialist or a dead broke materialist. Some may believe that the greatest evidence of materialism is riches. But in truth, there needs to be a much better measure, because materialism afflicts the rich and poor alike. Paul put his finger on the matter when he wrote these words from prison. "I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me." What Paul can "do" is what has eluded many of us today.

Paul learned that materialism, that need for something beyond the presence of God, can visit each of us. Paul rose above the discontent that dominated the world then, and now. He has learned the art of faith that manifests itself in contentment through every circumstance. Paul was not bragging, he was rejoicing over a lesson learned. Paul was saying something like this, "I've finally figured it out. This crazy desire that crops it's head in our life for more stuff, must be ignored. I get it now and I want you too as well." Paul's discovery of contentment wasn't a gift, it was "learned". He learned the "secret". And the secret was this: When we allow God to strengthen us internally, we won't become addicted to superficiality. When God is our strength, our stuff loses it's grip on us. 

Do a "180 Now". Let God turn you from materialism to contentment. It won't happen overnight. Contentment is learned as our strength is increasingly found in him. So the secret is out. How do we find contentment and not be shackled by materialism? Jesus is the answer for so many of our questions. We just have to let him make us strong.

Philippians 4:12-13

 

God loves clarity and hates your confusion...

God loves clarity. There may be times when we're in a God ordained fog bank, but that's the exception and never the usual. Scattered thoughts can happen but God never intended for us to live disoriented. God wants to clear up the confusion. Disorder and confusion are like cousins, and at the root of it all is something that's tough to talk about, but vital that we stop to consider.

The simplest way to capture the problem with confusion is to see it as the result of pressing. Pressing is what we do when we want something but are unwilling to wait on God and slow the timing to match God's timing. The clearest passage on confusion, or pressing, is James 3:16. "For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice." When our "want" button is getting hit more than our listen button, we're destined for confusion. Jealousy and selfish ambition are ways we press, and when we press we experience "disorder" and "every evil practice" - confusion sets in and chaos can follow. 

Confusion is on a continuum. It can range from slight to extreme but if left unresolved it almost always digresses into deeper shades of grey. The solution is rather simple but requires some discipline. The pressing has to stop. When we feel like confusion is setting in or already grabbed us by the throat, we need to stop and surrender the "wants" - stop pressing. 

Do a "180 Now". Whatever level of confusion you may be feeling, stop to consider and let God search out any pressing toward a want in your life. Moving boldly with God is great but pressing into the darkness when we have no illumination or direction from God, gets us lost and confused every time. You can do this. Stop in the confusion and backtrack to a place of peace and listening to God. When pressing and confused, don't press harder, reach out to God and slide to the side of the road without slipping off the path. Let all wants go and watch bring clarity and order back into your life once again. God loves us more than to put us on a treadmill of tangled confusion. Stop and let God clear up all the confusion.

James 3:16

Time With God...We'll Be Blown Away By What We Hear

If we can live and bask in God's direction and wisdom, we'll be tasting a life that is out of this world. To take in a breath and have God's peace grip our heart is a dynamite reality, and it can happen frequently. The potential for us to rise above the noise of a twisted and tangled world is real. The hand wringing, white knuckles and shortness of breath will never be fully eradicated but they can be radically reduced. This isn't "super saint" stuff. And I'm sure not proposing a false spirituality that looks down our nose at others. I'm championing humble dependence on God. This is child of God stuff. So put this in the spiritual bank: When we desire to be blown away by the voice of God...we're in the will of God.

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Here's a danger: We can let the power of time with God slip through our hands. Asking, sharing, praising, singing and a bunch of other "ings" are great, but without listening we're going to miss something that could well be mind-blowing. 

Here's the great news: When humble people take time with God, God speaks. The earliest Jesus followers received the biggest breakthroughs from God while opening their hearts and ears to God. While they were worshiping and forgoing some food, "the Holy Spirit said...". This "word" resulted in a massive movement of the gospel around the world. What a beautiful thing. No strategy sessions, no polling and no consultants (by the way, these have their place and are great gifts from God). But this time was just time with God - willing and ready to hear his voice.

Now the payoff! Listening is within the reach of everyone. We don't need a PhD in hearing. All that's required is a humble heart and willing feet to go the direction God points. We can do this. My only advice is simple but a touch painful. Get a sharp spiritual knife and carve some time to hear from God. Keep a bible open in front of you and confirm what you hear with some wise counsel. But make no mistake: We set aside time with God...and we'll be blown away by what we hear.  

Acts 13:2-3